A man reportedly representing a state enterprise yesterday paid nearly $16 million to auction house Christie's for two looted national treasures. The sale came despite attempts by Beijing and local protesters to stop the auction. The man, identified by a Taiwanese art critic as Yi Suhao from the China Poly Group, beat his only rival bidder for an imperial Qianlong bronze monkey's head and bronze ox's head. The two pieces were looted from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing during the 19th century. The monkey's head fetched $8.18 million while the ox's head sold for $7.74 million, almost double the amount estimated by Christie's. Before the sale, protesters led by April 5th Action Group member Leung Kwok-hung chanted slogans outside the auction venue at the Marriott Hotel in Admiralty. They called on Christie's to call off the auction, which the protesters said had hurt the sentiments of the Chinese. Christie's was forced to keep the main gate to the auction venue closed throughout the bidding. The company will receive $1.54 million commission from the sales. Mr Yi, who was only willing to identify himself as coming from Beijing, refused to comment on what he would do with the antiques. 'They belong to all the Chinese people,' he said. Last year the China Poly Group opened a museum in Beijing. It has been buying back looted treasures in international auctions. It is understood the group has a military background and close ties to the family of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Yesterday, Christie's said it would continue to sell looted national treasures in the SAR provided the rule of law and fair play were upheld. But it warned that Hong Kong - as an important art and antiques centre - was facing fierce competition from neighbouring countries. Anthony Lin Huang-tin, chairman of Christie's Hong Kong, said: 'We do not involve ourselves in politics. 'If considerations other than commercial considerations come into the picture, that may be potentially damaging for commerce in Hong Kong.' Mr Lin said Christie's had a professional obligation to sell entrusted art works if they were accepted in good faith and with the sources checked. Edward Dolman, chief executive of Christie's International, said Hong Kong was chosen as the centre for selling Chinese antiques because of the mainland's interest. A group of Democratic Party members also petitioned auction house Sotheby's in Central, demanding the company stop its auction tomorrow of a bronze zodiac tiger's head and a hexagonal vase, also from the Qianlong period. Secretary for Home Affairs David Lan Hong-tsung said no rules were needed for selling antiques in Hong Kong.